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2013 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars—Roll Your Own Cigar

G. Clay Whittaker
Posted: November 14, 2013

(continued from page 1)

Awards were made in a variety of categories for silly cigars, and rather than take all the fun himself, Giannini put the winners to a vote: "I'm going to let you guys be the judges today."

The miscellaneous categories included nightmarishly butchered rolling jobs, left-field lobs at attention, and bags full of mangled tobacco. One entrant offered up an unwrapped cigar tied ornately with a wrapper-leaf serving as a bow. Another haphazardly tossed his bunch in a bag with wrapper tobacco so mishandled it resembled a pouch of beef jerky.

Throughout the day Giannini gave out La Gloria Cubana Serie R, Serie N, Serie R Esteli, Reserva Figurados, and Artesanos Tabaqueros. Those prizes went to the oddballs as judged by cheers from the crowd.

But the cigar of the day was selected by the masters. As Giannini raised the winner to the camera, a well-wrapped smoke appeared on the screens behind him. It would have been difficult to separate it from the thousands produced daily by professional rollers in the Dominican Republic.

"I'd buy that in a store," said Giannini, before calling the name of the lucky winner.

Keith Strassburger took the stage proudly, cheered on by a gaggle of friends (a few of whom were later needed onstage to help carry back his winnings). Giannini sent him off with a stack of boxes, the crowning jewel being a 2005 limited-edition humidor filled with La Gloria Cubanas.

"I watched what he did. I paid attention," said Strassburger, when Giannini asked him what the secret was to his perfect cigar.

Even after the awards were given out, the La Gloria team wasn't done educating. One patron approached one of Giannini's assistants, a bit disappointed, inquiring what about his cigar had fallen short.

"It's good work," he was told. "You have five seams here along the length of the cigar," he explained, touching the five loops that the wrapper leaf made with his finger tip. "The ideal is three. That's what we do in the factory. But it's good work. Next year, you could be the winner."

Of course, that's everyone's hope.

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Comments   1 comment(s)

MA Hoffman November 14, 2013 10:10pm ET

Aw, c'mon — we want to see both the winning cigar and the prizes the winner took home!

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